By Kathy Walsh

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – A baby girl, born weighing just over a pound, has a better chance at a healthy life after having a hole in her heart closed. Doctors at Children’s Hospital Colorado made the repair through one tiny incision, rather than open-heart surgery.

mandie hoffman PREEMIE HEART PROCEDURE

Mandie Hoffman (credit: CBS)

Mandie Lynn Hoffman was anxious to come into the world. She arrived Aug. 26, 15 weeks early.

With prematurity often comes problems. Luckily, Mandie cleared one hurdle with a less risky procedure.

“It’s not what we had in mind,” said Kirstin Hoffman about the very early birth of her first child.

Baby Mandie is not much bigger than a hot dog bun. She is so tiny, her footprint can fit on her father’s thumb.

mandie hoffman PREEMIE HEART PROCEDURE

Mandie Hoffman’s footprint on her father’s thumb. (credit: Hoffman family)

“I was scared for how small she was,” Kirstin told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.

Mandie was born to Kirstin and Trent Hoffman at 25 weeks gestation. She was 11 inches long, an inch shorter than a ruler and weighed just over a pound.

“She had like all these wires and tubes everywhere. I was scared,” Kirstin said.

Mandie Hoffman (credit: Hoffman family)

Babies that premature often have medical issues. One pressing problem for Mandie was her heart.

“Ductus arteriosus is a tube that every baby, before they’re born, has to have, but it usually closes a few days or a few weeks of birth,” said Dr. Gareth Morgan, congenital interventional cardiologist and Director of the Heart Institiute’s Cardiac Cath Lab at Children’s.

Mandie’s didn’t close and allowed blood to flow in the wrong direction.

mandie hoffman PREEMIE HEART PROCEDURE

(credit: CBS)

“It effectively floods the lungs with extra blood and stops the lungs from functioning as well as they can,” explained Morgan.

The problem can be fixed with open-heart surgery. But Morgan performed a much less invasive procedure.

Through a small incision in Mandie’s groin, he fed a catheter through a blood vessel to the heart. A tiny, wire mesh device was placed to close the hole.

Doctors hope for the best for Mandie.

Mandie Hoffman (credit: Hoffman family)

“That her lungs will completely recover, and she’ll be able to lead a very long and healthy life,” said Morgan.

“She took it like a pro,” said Kirstin.

Mandie’s due date was Dec. 8. For the Hoffman’s, the greatest gift would be having Mandie home by Christmas.

Doctors say the transcatheter closure took under 30 minutes. Mandie is one of the tiniest babies to have it done at Children’s.

Kathy Walsh

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